Listed below are countries with current health alerts for travellers. If you are planning a trip over the next few months, please take the time to read up on any disease outbreaks pertinent to the destinations you are visiting. It is advised to make an appointment with your GP at least 6 weeks prior to departing to determine if any travel vaccinations are necessary and to collect scripts for travel medicines and anti-malarial medication if it is needed. Our Practice Nurses – Tanya, Susan and Karen are available to immunise all travel patients after an initial consultation with your GP.
If you are unsure of your current vaccination status, what vaccines you may need for your next travel adventure or where current outbreaks maybe occurring, our Practice Nurses would be happy to answer any phone enquiry in relation to travel. You may not get an answer immediately, however, one of our Nurses will endeavor to get back to you as soon as possible.
Remember to visit the official Government website – smartraveller.gov.au . This website offers great travel tips and current health alerts for Australian and International travel. This website allows you to register your trip, allows you to subscribe for travel updates and advice and gives you information on taking out travel insurance for your impending trip.
Travelvax Newsletters – 30/11/17, 23/11/17, 16/11/17 and 9/11/17.
India, Egypt, Vietnam, Fiji, Brazil, Malaysia
DENGUE FEVER – Many of the above listed countries have reported surges in DENGUE FEVER outbreaks in recent weeks. Warmer temperatures and summer rainfall in tropical areas can generally precipitate an increase in DENGUE FEVER cases. DENGUE FEVER infection is present in most tropical or sub-tropical regions of the world and is spread by daytime-feeding Aedes Mosquitoes. Symptoms include high temperature and feeling generally unwell. Serious complications include Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever or Dengue Shock Syndrome. There is no specific medical treatment and no vaccine. The best way to protect against DENGUE FEVER is to avoid mosquito bites when in affected areas. Travellers should apply an insect repellent containing an effective active ingredient, such as DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, to exposed skin when outdoors during the day. In addition, cover up with long-sleeved tops, long pants, and shoes and socks around dawn and dusk, as well as other times when the mosquitoes are active.
Greece, Venezuela, Serbia, Germany, Italy, Romania, Thailand
MEASLES – Outbreaks have been occurring around the World in places such as Greece, Venezuela and Serbia. In previous months, cases have been reported in Germany, Italy and Romania. In Thailand, young children and infants under 4 years make up the highest number of Measles cases. Whilst these cases are predominantly in the local population, approximately 12% have been in foreign travellers to the country. These cases have predominantly been reported in unvaccinated children and adults. MEASLES is a highly contagious virus which can result in severe illness and even death. Regardless of your destination, Australian travellers who have not had Measles or have not received two documented doses of a Measles-containing vaccine should consider a booster. If you are unsure of your vaccination status, please check with your Doctor or Practice Nurse.
Kenya, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia
CHOLERA – Increased Cholera activity has been recorded in a number of countries within the African Continent due to heavy rains. The disease is generally spread by contaminated water. Strict personal hygiene and care in the selection of food and water is recommended – especially if you are visiting a region where an outbreak is occurring. For most short-term travellers the risk of infection is low. There is an oral Cholera vaccine (Dukoral) available for those at risk of contracting the disease. Two doses are required a minimum of one week apart, (slightly varied dosage for young children aged between 2 – 6 years), and should be administered no less than two weeks prior to travel. Please see your GP and/or Practice Nurse for more information.
TYPHOID – Kenya is being inundated with infectious water-borne diseases such as Typhoid Fever. Due to Floods leading to burst water sewers, there has been a significant increase in mosquito activity in most parts of Kenya.
Typhoid is endemic in many developing regions. Vaccination is generally recommended for those staying or travelling extensively in rural areas, as well as for adventurous eaters. All travellers visiting endemic areas should follow safe food and water guidelines, and adopt strict personal hygiene practices. Please speak to your GP or Practice Nurse about whether you need Typhoid vaccination prior to travel. The Typhoid Vaccine gives approximately 3 years protection.
Hawaii (USA), Alaska (USA), Vanuatu, Auckland (New Zealand)
MUMPS – Mumps outbreaks have hit Hawaii and some mainland states of the USA. Similarly, Auckland, New Zealand has had a total of 839 Mumps cases from 1/1/17 to 20/11/17. The outbreak in Port Vila, Vanuatu has been ongoing for several months this year – mainly affecting school-aged children. Mumps is generally a mild disease in children, however it can cause more severe illness in adults, including Encephalitis (1 in 1000 cases) and permanent hearing loss (1 in 20,000 cases). All travellers should ensure they have had two “Measles/Mumps/Rubella” combination vaccines prior to travel if they have not had wild strain Measles or Mumps. The current National Immunisation Program provides for routine vaccination of children at 12 months and 18 months for Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR combination vaccine). Adults can pay privately for a booster MMR vaccine if required. Please discuss with your GP or Practice Nurse if you require any further information.
CHIKUNGUNYA – There has been a dramatic rise in Chikungunya cases in the north eastern regions of Brazil. Chikungunya Virus is spread by the same daytime-feeding mosquitoes that transmit Dengue Fever. It is most often characterised by fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, rash and joint pain and can be quite debilitating. It is thought that once someone has had Chikungunya, it confers life-long immunity. Acute illness typically lasts a few days to a couple of weeks, but as with some other mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue, some people have prolonged fatigue lasting several weeks. Others have reported incapacitating joint pain, or Arthritis which may last for weeks or months. Once again, there is no vaccine to prevent Chikungunya. Travellers should follow the advice above re: Dengue Fever mosquito protection.
Czech Republic, Portugal, Kentucky, California, Michigan, Utah, Arizona, Colorado (USA)
HEPATITIS A – There has been an increase in reported cases of Hepatitis A in the above countries and states of USA. The outbreak in the USA that initially affected elicit drug users and homeless individuals has now spread to gay and bi-sexual men. A vigorous Hepatitis A Vaccination Program has been implemented to stop the spread of the disease. Hep A is a vaccine-preventable disease passed onto humans through contaminated water and food, the handling of every day items and through sexual contact. Higher risk for travellers is in developing countries where there is poor hygiene, sanitation and questionable food handling. A course of two Hep A vaccines gives approximately 99% protection for a substantial period of time – ? life-long. It is important for all travellers to be vaccinated against Hep A for travel to most developing and third world countries. See your GP/Practice Nurse for more information.
GASTRO KITS – NOW AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE
For the convenience of our patients, we now have Gastro Kits available for those travelling. The kits have been individually designed to contain a variety of prescription and non-prescription medications specifically for the purpose to control and treat symptoms of gastro disease such as vomiting, diarrhoea, nausea and stomach cramping. The Gastro Kits contain medications such as anti-nausea, anti-diarrhoea, antibiotics and oral rehydration sachets. The kits cost $73.00 and come in a light-weight reusable pouch. Please ask your GP or Practice Nurse for further details including potential allergies to any medications contained in the kits.
FIRST AID KITS – BE PREPARED WHEN TRAVELLING
Travellers should always carry a basic first-aid kit to cater for minor emergencies. Individuals who are caravanning or camping should also have a well-stocked first aid kit. The contents should include items such as…
Antibiotic ointment (for cuts/abrasions).
Antibiotic tablets (for severe bacterial forms of diarrhoea) – require a prescription from your GP
Antifungal cream/powder (for tinea).
Antiseptic ointment (for cleaning wounds).
Assorted waterproof and non-waterproof dressings
Electrolyte replacement tablets (to replace body salts lost through sweating or diarrhoea).
Imodium (for symptomatic relief of diarrhoea).
Insect repellent (containing DEET for travellers to tropical areas).
Personal medications (always carry prescriptions).
Sterile syringe and needle (for emergency use).
Thermometer (non-mercury type).
Tea-tree oil (an excellent general antiseptic).
Toilet paper/facial tissues.
You should be aware of how to use the items in your first-aid kit. It is probably best to keep your first aid kit in your checked baggage and not have it stored in your cabin luggage – especially due to airline restrictions of carrying scissors, sharp objects and limited amounts of liquids.
THE MENINGOCOCCAL MAZE!!
In recent times, there has been increased publicity surrounding various strains of meningococcal disease circulating within the community. Meningococcal is a rare but serious disease caused by bacteria that is carried by humans. The high risk age groups for Meningococcal are Under 5 years, Late Teens/Early 20 year olds and over 65 years. Specific Meningococcal strains (ie: A, B C, W and Y) are more common in specific age groups. There are a number of different vaccines available to protect against these strains.
The only funded vaccine on the National Immunisation Program is Menitorix (Meningococcal C/Hib) – given at the 12 month age interval. Furthermore, Menactra (Meningococcal A, C,W,Y) is being funded for the 15 – 19 year old age group ONLY up until 31/12/2017. (please see below for further details). There are two vaccines available for private purchase from our Clinic. These vaccines cover the Meningococcal A, C, W Y strains. Menveo – $105.00 (can be given from 2 months of age) and Menactra – $75.00 (can be given from 2 years of age). The number of doses required of each vaccine is dependent on the age of the individual when commencing the course. A third Meningococcal A, C, W, Y vaccine is available from the Pharmacy with a prescription. (it is NOT stocked at this clinic). It is called Nimenrix and can be given from 12 months of age. Only one dose of this vaccine is required.
Meningococcal B vaccine (Bexsero) can be given from 6 weeks of age. Once again, the number of doses required is dependent on the age of the individual when commencing the course. A script is required from your GP for all doses of Bexsero as the Clinic does not stock it. You will need to source the vaccine/s from your Pharmacy and bring them into the Clinic for a Practice Nurse/GP to administer. The main side effect of Bexsero can be increased risk of fever. It is recommended in patients under 2 years of age that Panadol be given 30 mins prior to the vaccination and two more doses at 6 hourly intervals after the vaccination.
For all vaccine enquiries, please speak to one of our Practice Nurses – Tanya, Susan and Karen. All our Practice Nurses are Accredited Nurse Immunisers.
NCIRS FACTSHEET – Meningococcal Disease Sept 2017
MENINGOCOCCAL A,C,W,Y VACCINE – FUNDED PROGRAM FOR 15-19 YEAR OLDS
PROGRAM FINISHES 31/12/17 – DON’T MISS OUT!!
In recent years the Meningococcal W strain has increased across Australia, with Victoria experiencing 48 cases in 2016, compared to 17 cases in 2015, four cases in 2014 and one in 2013. It is now the predominant strain in Victoria. Although uncommon, meningococcal disease can become life threatening very quickly.
Commencing in April 2017, a funded Meningococcal Vaccination Program (for strains A,C,W,Y) has been running in Victoria for those aged 15 – 19 years. This age cohort has been targeted as young people in this age group are at increased risk of meningococcal disease and more likely to spread the disease to others. Immunisation experts have advised that immunising this age group can prevent spread to other age groups.
The majority of individuals in the age group are being vaccinated through the Secondary School Vaccination Program whereby students in Years 10, 11 and 12 receive the Menactra Vaccine (Meningoccocal A,C,W,Y) at school through the Local Council Nurse Immuniser Program. However, some students are potentially being missed. Students who are currently 14 years but will be turning 15 years up until 31/12/17 are eligible for the free vaccine. Similarly, individuals who are no longer at school and will be 19 years up until 31/12/17 are also eligible (ie: early school leavers, 1st/2nd year University students etc).
These eligible individuals are able to receive the Meningococcal A,C,W,Y Vaccine (Menactra) free through the Clinic. Appointments can be made directly with the Practice Nursing staff whereby the consultation will be bulk-billed and the Menactra vaccine provided free. Some individuals in these age groups may have already received the Menactra Vaccine as part of previous travel vaccinations and will not require another dose if given under 5 years ago. If you or your child is unsure whether or not he/she has received a previous dose of this Meningococcal A,C,W,Y vaccine or have any other immunisation/vaccination questions, please speak to Tanya, Susan or Karen (Practice Nurses) or your GP.